With February being the month of love, I was fortunate to interview Ryan Bacher, the Managing Director of NetFlorist. You could call him Mr. Cupid as his company helps thousands of South African’s profess their love by sending flowers and gifts on Valentine’s Day.
Prior to my interviews, I generally scout around on the internet to learn more about the subject I’m going to feature. I came across the NetFlorist blog and was amazed to read about how this organization was conceived. Ryan actually co-founded NetFlorist to test an e-commerce / online shopping platform in an effort to be awarded the business to run the online store for a major retailer. By chance NetFlorist took off and as they say, the rest is history.
I arrived at the NetFlorist Head Office and depot excited about my interview. I was greeted by Eden from their Marketing Department who arranged a tour of their facilities. I felt like a child going on an excursion.
I was in awe walking through this massive warehouse, I came accross rows of orders waiting to go out and a group of new drivers on training to prepare for the busy month ahead. I was told the rows of flowers and gifts stretch from one end to the other on Valentine’s Day. There were so many people working hand in hand with shelved walls filled with vases and packing items, beautiful flower arrangements and big screens with orders displayed on them. I also noticed that the people working there were very happy, I guess it’s hard not to be happy when you’re working with the smell of roses and beautiful colours of the flowers every day. I was also very surprised to learn that NetFlorist do all their flower arranging, personalized gifts and baking of their confectionary items on site.
I was also intrigued to learn that their marketing offices transform into a mini command centre for Valentine’s Day in order to keep up with the increased communications required. During the entire visit the one thing that came across was that NetFlorist has to really prepare, way in advance for Valentine’s Day.
We then made our way up to Ryan’s office. I expected the MD to be sitting in a really fancy office, Ryan’s office was simple and modest, he was also dressed casually. He really is a humble and natural person and looked like someone that would get his hands dirty in his business. I got to experience this first hand just as we started, Ryan had to excuse himself for a few minutes because their telephone lines went down and he personally went to check on this. I hear that Ryan is always running up and down between the offices and the warehouse, you’ll even find him loading in dispatch, offloading hampers and even logging in order sheets at logistics. You’ll find him everywhere.
When he got back, I got to hear from directly from Ryan more about the business, himself and defining moments for NetFlorist. I learned that Ryan is married for 11 years and has two children aged 7 and 9, interestingly I’ve been married for the same time and my kids are the same ages. This helped to break the ice and I started to fire away some questions.
Ryan: I would definitely try to exercise more and read more.
R: It has got to be the first day of the December holidays. Things are usually wrapped up here at the office and I’m ready to enjoy a vacation and spend some quality family time.
R: I studied law, but probably wouldn’t be doing that. I was a tennis coach so maybe something along that line.
R: No I wouldn’t, I enjoy the internet space and the change of it. I feel we are always at the cutting edge of technology. Ultimately we responsible for a lot of smiles, although we are a business it’s nice to know what we do makes people happy.
R: I’m not sure I hit it yet. I wouldn’t choose before family life because pre-family was boring. So my gut is that I probably haven’t hit that age yet.
R: A few years ago I abseiled off Table mountain. I was absolutely terrified but having accomplished such a thing was empowering.
R: The Internet, it’s created this platform which is fast tracking innovation. To communicate with people across the globe in real time and to have access to information at your fingertips has to be the best invention in the past 50 years.
R: In our space personalisation is becoming more and more important to our customers. The ability to create a product and put a name on it is very popular. One of the biggest selling products now is our personalised mug. So personalisation is going to be the most significant area that NetFlorist will work on in the future.
R: We do all of our own production and delivery. Most people think we are a market place for flowers. We own a lot of trucks and have departments that produce our own products.
R: I may be sending something from our sympathies range to an outgoing president soon.
Eden: Speaking about presidents, in reception we have a nice little frame. Bill Clinton placed an order for Nelson Mandela through NetFlorist. We have that message on display.
R: It was before Mandela died.
L: So do the staff come running through the door with these types of orders?
R: It’s exactly that. It was a lovely message from him and his wife.
R: Preparation is key! The more prepared we are the more we can deliver the right product to the right person and at the right time. Valentines day is 30% bigger than Mother’s Day and they are the biggest days by far in the year that we prepare for.
R: 75 % Male on Valentines Day and during the year 68% woman.
We laughed and said how typically in everyday life it’s like that.
R: We send around 300 000 roses and do around 30 000 deliveries
14. L: What is the proudest story that NetFlorist has to tell?
R: When Madiba died, we were approached about six months before his passing and were asked to be the floral provider for his funeral. There were 4 key places that we had to supply:
We also offered anybody who wanted to send flowers through us the opportunity to do so, we didn’t make any profit. For about 3 weeks our business was focused on Mandela and his life. It was a sad time, but I think mostly everyone who was here was proud to be part of something like this. It wasn’t about the money but about being part of that event. It was definitely our proudest moment. It was definitely our peak.
E: If I might just add, that type of peak happens on a daily basis. We are a part of so many different situations, where people will mail in and say, I just want you to know that, my husband has been overseas for two months and I haven’t heard a word but I just got a delivery from him. That sentiment for someone is far bigger than we could ever expect. Whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, when a customer sends us a message saying thank you so much you made my day, those peaks are the most rewarding part of our job.
We even did a campaign showing people what our deliveries did for people. We put cameras in our drivers caps and it was heart-warming to see people’s reactions.
R: 12 red roses, no matter what we come up with it’s always the biggest seller.
R: (laughs) I use NetFlorist very often. I send and take home a lot (I pay for it). She sees it as genuine.
L: So if you do it all the time, what is your wow factor for Valentine’s Day?
R: My wife likes jewellery, so generally on those types of occasions I use NetJewel.
R: Probably seeing the team come together, our needs for Valentine’s Day are extreme. The demand on our employees is high, but to see everyone come together to get the job done is amazing.
E: Ryan is here with us through it all, they say you lead by example. That’s why our staff are so highly motivated and willing to put in the hours. We had a meeting to see who will be taking which shifts and everyone was in. Even though we don’t need everyone here at the same time, everyone said we are in and will be on standby.
R: In the office !
I walked out of the office after the interview with a sense of happiness. It is refreshing to come accross an organisation like this, there’s so much passion and love for the business and the people in it. I managed to get a few more pictures before I left.
Visiting NetFlorist was definitely a highlight for the Everyday-People Blog. It was exactly what I wanted for my readers, a chance to see everyday people doing amazing things. I hope to continue bringing you stories that will move you. For me hearing the stories from NetFlorist moved me, especially the one about the delivery to Madiba from Bill Clinton, which showed me just how much Madiba and South Africa was loved throughout the world.
To celebrate the month of love, we’re giving away R500 to spend at NetFlorist to one lucky reader. Tell us about the most special delivery that you’ve received / or would love to receive and why. Let us know in the comments section in any of our social media platforms. You will then go into a draw to win R500 to spend at NetFlorist. Competition ends 28 Feb 2018. Share this post for an extra entry. I look forward to hearing your story!!!
Category: UncategorizedTags: blog, brands, Everyday People, influencer, lifestyle, loveblogging, madiba, Mandela, motivation, Netflorist, online shopping, sa blogger, shopping, social media, South Africa
Creator of the Everyday-People.Blog. My vision for this blog is to highlight and celebrate people. Blogging is something I've always wanted to do, but didn't want a blog all about me. I wanted something different, something we can all be inspired by. Hope you enjoy the blog, the people I feature and follow me on my journey.